Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, Halima Aden enjoyed the glamor of the catwalk in the United States, but last year she decided to tear up her deals with the big fashion brands to start her “modest” lineup.
Halima, an American of Somali descent, is now seen only in the hijab, a female Islamic dress that reveals the face, and in Burkini, a swimsuit that covers the heads of Muslim women. “From a young age, the phrase ‘You do not change yourself, change the system’ motivated me to do many things,” he explained to AFP during a visit to Istanbul, Turkey.
According to her, giving Muslim women a place in fashion means respecting them, changing quickly in a career, and during her experience, she says her values have been reached.
“When I decided to give it all up, I did just that. And I’m so proud,” says the 24-year-old.
The breakthrough was announced last November and took the fashion and influence world by surprise, he hailed for his courage and pioneering approach in the field.
Halima Aden first appeared in Burkina Faso in 2016 during a beauty pageant in Minnesota. Then, he, who was already popular, landed in 2019 for the annual edition of Sports Illustrated with this type of clothing – which has caused controversy in Western countries to this day.
Undressing in front of dozens of people
Meanwhile, she became increasingly embarrassed with certain practices in the fashion world, such as changing clothes in front of a large team. Halima says she has not been able to rise in a profession that has “little respect for human beings”.
“I was always given a dressing room, a separate place for me to change, but most of the time, I could only benefit from a little intimacy,” he says.
“I saw my young colleagues undressing in public in the presence of famous journalists, cooks, tailors and assistants. It was very shocking,” he recalled.
The model felt that her traditions, which were completely different from other models, had been ridiculed and insulted by some brands. The American eagle once changed his veil over a pair of jeans over his head.
“It’s not a question of style! It came down to the fact that I could not recognize my hijab because I traditionally wore it,” he observes.
The decision to drop photo shoots and fashion shows freed her, he points out. “I was never so relaxed. It was like poison to me to keep it all up,” he compared at the time, to Instagram.
In Istanbul, surrounded by fashion fans from the Middle East, Halima Aden was relaxed at an event organized by Turkish brand Modanisa, for which she will design exclusive and “moderate” collections now known as fashion for Muslims.
The industry is growing and has already reached US $ 277 million in 2019 – a tenth of the world’s fashion industry, but it has a huge growth rate. In recent years, Moscow, Riyadh and London have hosted special fashion shows for these audiences – an evolution by models like her is possible.
This trend is particularly strong in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, where Halima sees a wide range of street clothing. “Moderate fashion begins, a trend that will last for a few hundred years and will continue for another 100 years,” he pointed out.
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